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A Winemaker Raises the Claret Jug

Plus, celebrity golfers and Korbel descend on Tahoe, director David Lynch designs his own Dom Pérignon bottle, the French feds bid adieu to Champagne, and more

Posted: July 26, 2012

• Wine-loving golfers and golf-loving wine lovers around the world (there are a lot of you out there) tuned in to the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England, this past weekend to see South African vintner (and former world No. 1-ranked golfer) Ernie Els hoist Unfiltered's favorite trophy in all of sport, the Claret Jug. Across the pond, meanwhile, there were some much less serious—and far more sparkling wine-soaked—rounds of golf being played at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championships in Lake Tahoe, Nev. Korbel has long been a sponsor of the sports star-studded event and hosts numerous charity events during the weekend in Tahoe. The Korbel Celebrity Spray-Off kicked off the festivities this past Thursday, with current and retired pro athletes including Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers and A.J. Hawk, Cowboys QB Tony Romo and NFL Hall of Famers John Elway and Jerry Rice heading up a strong contingent of football players. Still thirsty after his Miami Heat celebrated their championship with a Nebuchadnezzar of Ace of Spades Champagne, Shane Battier popped off a cork shot of 100 feet, but he missed the Bus: Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis won with a pop of 110 feet, earning $5,000 from the Korbel Toast Life Foundation for the charity of his choice. Elway continued the gridiron-great dominance in the closest-to-the-pin competition, earning a $5,000 check from Korbel for the Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation. The Packers' Hawk may have just been letting the old guys win, though: Korbel sponsored his Hawk's Locks for Kids fund-raiser, benefiting Wigs for Kids, with a $5,000 donation just this past June.

• Restaurant-savvy Unfiltered readers might know the name David Lynch as belonging to the wine writer and former wine director at New York's Babbo and San Francisco's Quince and Cotogna restaurants, who now owns his own San Francisco restaurant, St. Vincent. However, it was that other David Lynch, the Oscar-nominated director of The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, who was making wine news this week, a few hundred miles south, in Los Angeles. At a moodily-lit party at Hollywood's Milk Studios on Monday night, Lynch revealed the 2003 Brut Champagne and 2000 Rosé bottles he was commissioned to design for Champagne house Dom Pérignon. Dubbed “The Power of Creation,” a limited number of the Lynch-designed bottles, featuring a slightly eerie, melting-light pattern and Lynch's signature, will go on sale in the U.K. this fall. Just as eerie was the assortment of celebrities in attendance: The guest list included Kelly Osbourne (TV fashion cop and daughter of Ozzy), Fran “The Nanny” Drescher and Jessica Szohr of Gossip Girl (whose characters, Unfiltered has previously noted, know their way around an impressive vintage of Dom Pérignon).

• Two great loves shared by Unfiltered and the French people are of Champagne and ironie. So we no doubt are as mélancolique as they to learn that Champagne Socialism, at least in the French government, has been replaced with regular ol' socialist socialism. (A Champagne Socialist is what Americans know better as a limousine liberal or—this is a new one to Unfiltered—a Neiman Marxist.) Ever since taking office in May, president François Hollande's Socialist government has set an example in fiscal responsibility by toning down some of the more expensive rituals of the office, hoping to inspire the French people to follow suit. One casualty: The traditional pouring of Champagne at state receptions, especially in the office of prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, has largely been replaced by Muscadet. (It was reported by the French press earlier in July that Ayrault had been off the bubbly for a full month.) Unfiltered is already plotting ways to fulfill this potential market for high-end Muscadet … perhaps a $3,600 Krug Muscadet "Clos d'Muscadet" isn't that far off.

• In terms of length, at least, it appears that the Chinese have taken the record for world's biggest wine bottle from… the Chinese. A 30-foot-long (the previous record-holder was 15), 8-foot wide, 3.3 ton whopper of Jinding "claret" was unveiled for a major wine expo in the Shandong province. According to Jinding, the company wanted to make sure all attendees got a taste of their wine. (And they succeeded!) While it is unclear how the wine was conveyed from bottle to glass, Unfiltered imagines a complicated system of levers, pulleys, ropes, buckets and interns was required. In the tradition of naming comically large wine bottles after biblical figures like Jeroboam and Methuselah, Unfiltered suggests this new size be christened a "Goliath."

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